Energy in Canada's North

GHG Grant Program: An Opportunity to Lower Energy Costs and Reduce Emissions in the Mining Sector

Online pre-recorded


D.R.N. Nhuchhen (Presenting)
Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT)
E.C. Chalker (Presenting)
Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT)

Anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with different economic activities across the globe are responsible for a changing global climate system. To take initiatives on the global effort towards climate change mitigation, Canada has recently joined international communities to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050. The Government of Northwest Territories (GNWT) has also set targets to reduce its GHG emissions established in the 2030 Energy Strategy. This document presents a review of overall GHG emissions from the mining sector in NWT and a case study on the type of energy use and their intensity in different gold mining processes. The historical data shows that the NWT mining sector emission is increasing at 2 ktCO2 per year between 2005 and 2019, indicating a need for a rapid annual reduction of 7 ktCO2 or more to reach its emissions 30% below 2005 level and commit towards the global mining sector net-zero emissions goal by 2050 set out by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM). Diesel and electricity are two main energy sources that contribute to GHG emissions from the gold mining process. Due to the lack of proper grid connectivity, the mining industry in the remote part of the NWT produces onsite electricity using diesel engines, making it harder to decarbonize. Since environmental regulations including carbon price on industrial CO2 emissions are getting more stringent, the mining industry must shift towards the production of cleaner products to avoid carbon penalties. Our observation shows that the NWT mining industry could cost-effectively lower its emissions by promoting wind and solar power, adopting cleaner transport vehicles driven by biodiesel or hydrogen, installing commercial biomass boilers, exploring geothermal energy resources for space heating and power generation, retrofitting for energy efficiency, and promoting waste heat recovery systems. To promote and de-risk these projects and initiatives, the GNWT has been providing grants up to 25% to businesses and individuals under the Buildings and Industry GHG Grant Program. Projects supported through this program not only avoided GHG emissions but also helped businesses and industries to lower their energy costs.